Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Be Still and Trust

As soon as one completes their very first day of camp at Worldview Academy, it becomes clear that the lectures taking place are in order to maximize your preparation for one thing.

Evangelism Practicum.

During this excursion to a new environment- may it be a college campus full of rushed college students, downtown, Wal-mart, etc., students interact with the inhabitants of the United States. Not necessarily in an effort to convert, but in an attempt to discuss. As students converse with these often "outsiders" of their own faith, numerous circumstances offer the chance to perform the act of one thing. In many different versions, of course. Questions. This has been the focus of over half the lectures given so far at camp. How to ask these specific questions in order to cause the "questionee" to do in turn one thing as well. Answer? Not quite. Think.
I do hope that any high school students reading this will one day be given the chance to attend Worldview Academy, so in honor if these students, and to Mr. Bill Jack's relief, this post is not focused on how to evangelize. Perhaps that day will come, but as the great King Aragorn once proclaimed, "today is not that day." This post is instead focused on the personal experience found on MY last evangelism practicum at Downtown, Indianapolis.
When Moses is given commands by God in Exodus to go the Pharaoh and demand to free the people of Israel, Moses replies something like this, "I don't know what to say." (Something along those lines...) If you have read Genesis- really read Genesis- this seems as though to be the stupidest response possible. God, the Creator of the universe, has entrusted Moses with a command, and Moses is concerned about how he is going to talk. For those of you that have never performed such a revolution, freeing a nation from slavery is no small feat. God, however, is no small God. As we read in hein sight, it seems a bit ridicules to do anything but trust God. Moses, on the other hand, did not witness the creation of the world, nor had read of it, or had even heard the true story. Moses in fact, up until this point, had never believed in the God of the Israelites. In essence, it was his first day on the job, so we'll cut him some slack this once.
As for us, in this day and age, and our knowledge of who God is, what excuse do we hide in our back pocket? No, none of us witnessed the actual creation of the universe, but I for one can only imagine how incredible it would have been to see it. Many of us have even read the account of creation written down on paper by Moses himself! (Or rock or papyrus, turtle shell etc.) All throughout the Bible we can read of the great and powerful God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Why do we doubt? Why do we so often focus on how we will ever get this accomplished on our own?
I struggled with this crazy phenomenon on the van headed downtown last month. How on earth do I keep up with these conversations? I don't know the answers - I need more time - I'm not prepared! As our group of three abandoned the van and prayed a final prayer on the sidewalk, God was gracious enough to send me my answer in that moment. God told me in that moment the same thing he told Moses in his moment, "Who then has made your mouth?"
It was then that I felt both ashamed and astonished and confident and humbled and yes, I even felt prepared. As we took our time talking with an older man about his semi-agnostic worldview, I discovered something. It's amazing how many random facts you know about platypuses, the process of making pillow cases, and the origins of chocolate cake while having a discussion with a stranger. While they are talking it seems as though you know all there is to know about everything except what you need to. So naturally, between every question I took the time to simultaneously listen to this fellow's answers and pray patiently. As soon as our friend finished speaking and another unknown question beckoned, I would ask the beckoned question and there he was yet again answering, wearing one of those old-man hats, talking in the second kind of old man voice, slow and choppy. Half the time I had no idea what I had just said. After thinking a bit it would come to me the question I just asked. I had responded with the perfect question to keep the conversation rolling as well as mind-probing. By no means do I say that with pride. I say it with all humility because the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was more than obviously speaking through me. This happened continually throughout every conversation we held that day. I am beyond thankful to my God.
Who then made my mouth? In case you haven't caught on yet, the same God who made the heavens and the earth an all that inhabit it. My message is clear and simple today. Trust God my friends, because without Him you will not have the answers. Not for others, and most definitely not for yourself. He will always provide.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A Week of Camp

Seeing as how I have referenced this before, but never fully detailed to my readers the complete intenseness of my reference, one would suppose that the time has just about arrived to satisfy the whole of this title. Then again, because of my lack of description, I would guess that none of my readers would have a compelling desire to obtain the full knowledge of this reference after all. That being said, it is my privilege and honor to devote this post to an organization that has more than dramatically impacted my life.
This organization has done more than teach, it has empowered. Instead of the everyday student, the camps provided by this organization have created rare forms of Disciples. Christ's Disciples. Even more scarce- young Christian Disciples.
Before you turn the computer off entirely, frustrated that yet another innocent being has decided among himself to take the time, neigh, the audacity- to compile yet another praise for yet another "summer camp" he has recently attended (it isthat facebook-thwarting time of year again), something must first be made clear.
This camp has not impacted me through an ever so common emotional confrontation. A side-project that the utter majority of summer camps provide without cost. I might have another post entirely on this subject of interest (or perhaps of non-interest). It must be stated that I have attended this camp three years in a row now, and still every year grow more confidant in its mindset. Although I do not brag about being a sort of "veteran of attendance", I most certainly take pride in it. I take pride in being annually involved with this association because it has encouraged me in something I am to always take pride in: my distinct relationship with Jesus Christ. This is the reason I commit this post entry to Worldview Academy. Because of the challenge invested in me every year by a select group of people who want to know God's heart, and serve Him by serving me through love. Not because I had an "awesome week at camp" and not because of a self-invested-camp-long emotional experience. However, because of everything I have gained from participation in this camp, I most definitely have developed an emotional devotion to those acquainted with it.
During Worldview Academy, students will endure approximately twenty-six hours in total classroom lecture.

Don't you just want to sign up this very instant?

Do not fear. These lectures are not similar to the implication of the common word "lecture" you are probably associated with. These lectures often feel, look, smell and taste like the "lecture" that initially comes to mind, but by no means do they sound the same (yes, be relieved.) Instead, the topics discussed in these lectures are concentrated on bringing in and teaching out a more vast understanding of other worldviews, strategies in apologetics applied while defending your faith, and identifying the characteristics of a God-fearing leader. Why? Only so that the graduates of WVA re-enter everyday life knowing how to question other religions and worldviews, defend their own, and are challenged to lead others at their own home.
Aside from this, students face an opportunity to practice the techniques they have gained on - wait for it - real, live, talking people that inhabit the real, live, walking world. Campers also build relationships in a personal small group, and usually walk out the Worldview doors with professionally-equalized capabilities when it comes to throwing a frisbee.
Descriptive enough? Please know I can easily write a book about my experience at this camp. This week, I will be writing specifically about my personal revelations gained at my most recent attendance last month, but in order for you to fully grasp the meaning of this week's posts, some background was unavoidable. Thank you for the vast amount of viewers, a little over 500 recently. Perhaps I wasn't sure exactly what I was getting into by starting this blog. Please, pray for me.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

All These Things

     It so happens that I have not the slightest clue concerning what to write about. Therefore, what you are about to read was constructed entirely on the spot and without meaningful aim. Hopefully, this does not cause you to close the page, but instead realize my amazing ability of constructing a post without first having anything to write about. You see, the trick is to use words with purpose, even when there is no purpose to be found among the words. As long as this sounds interesting, you should still be reading.
     Then again, it could be said that the purpose of these words is to communicate to you the fact that purpose is not necessary in order to obtain success. In this case, I am purposefully writing purposeful words without purpose all while non-purposefully communicating those words in a purposeful way after all.

     Oh how I love writing.

     This morning, you probably got out of bed however you usually do every other morning. That is, not until after having a long inward conversation with yourself. Possibly without even realizing your thoughts were functioning at all. In short, you wished to sleep. Unfortunately there is more to life then sleep, such as eating, moving, productivity and what not. So, against your initial will the bed was eventually deserted. (P. s.- those of you who have no trouble leaving bed in the morning are barely human and probably have cats to feed anyway so there is no need for further reading.)
     I am not aware of what the politically correct response to this question happens to be, mostly because the question is not typically of general interest among everyday conversations, but if someone were to ask me how on earth I get out of bed every morning, I would respond like so:

     Jesus. Jesus is how I do everything.

     Everyone knows the verse. Some have it memorized. In fact, when people ask for my favorite verse in the Bible this verse is the second-half of my answer.

     "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." -Philippians 4:13

     I love this verse. I hate how people use this verse. This verse is plastered on sports locker rooms. Quoted by celebrities. This verse is used out of context by pastors around the globe. This is the conclusion - the end product of what Paul is communicating. Allow me the honor of posting my all-time favorite verse for you:

     "Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." -Philippians 4:11-13

     Many use this verse when they are in need. In sports, financial crisis - whenever they are in need of success. It's words are changed, unknowingly, to "I can do this thing through Christ who strengthens me." Paul specifically makes it clear amidst the first few words that this is not his reasoning. Instead, we can do ALL things through Christ. We can win in Christ, loose in Christ, face plenty in Christ, face hunger in Christ, face abundance, need, money, poverty, success, failure, and anything else! After the battle, when we have nothing to show, no chance of success, not a friend in the world- when we have LOST. We have lost in Christ!
     There is so much more to this verse alone, but I beg you to search for yourself. I'm no expert. I just love Jesus. So this week, I propose two challenges. First, to look past what is assumed by majority and find the truth being revealed in the Bible. Also, to know that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. When you are strengthened by Christ, you will find joy in Him. When you find joy in Christ, you can't help but be used by Him.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Evil Super Villain Emails

Obviously I'm not a pro at this whole "staying updated" thing. I need more time! I promise you guys I'm gonna get this together. A post a week is my goal, and I suppose I should take into account as well that I already have over 300 views on this thing. That's a fair amount of people who have read this and probably wished my last post wasn't three months ago. I apologize to anyone who has been unnecessarily faithful. I'll name you Joe.
So Joe, expect a post every Sunday morning! The Sunday Usual. Email me Joe! I heart questions and/or suggestions. You see with questions I can,

"Dave was a malicious super villain. As usually goes, Dave, being an evil super villain, spent his days doing nothing less than concocting different impractical means of destroying the earth. Dave, along with every other super villain to enter the comics, never realized the uselessness of this goal. I mean seriously, what is he left with and anyway, Dave was missing something that 98 percent of other super villains had already obtained: a cool nickname. Besides the absence of this necessity, Dave was also faced with yet another dilemma. Although he spent his days meditating on diabolical plans of destruction, none of these plans ever succeeded. Everyone knew this however, because....the world was still in existence. However the main reason for Dave's failure occurred as a result of him not actually having any plans. All of his meditation and thoughtfulness had been in vain, for the fruit of his thought had ceased to sprout. Dave died a complete failure."

Well, let's be thankful Dave never succeeded, but really, all he would have needed in order to destroy the world was a good idea that worked. Even if his ideas never profited it could still be said that he tried. Seeing as how Dave apparently did not have the inward capability to produce ideas, we can submit two conclusions:
a. He should have pursued a different career.
b. Now that he's stuck in this career, he needs to hire a minion.
Minion, secretary, assistant. Somebody to GIVE him ideas. After all, Dave had full potential to follow through with an idea (hopefully), so as long as he got an idea from somebody he's good to go.
Turns out Dave and I are in the same situation. With two differences:
a. I am not seeking the earth's destruction.
b. I do have the capability to produce original ideas.

So it's not totally one in the same here.

Long made up evil villain story short, I love emails! So Joe, if you feel the need to contact me about anything, don't think I won't answer! I will answer and I will probably follow through. I'll at least consider. Unless its just dumb. Then again I like reading the dumb ones too, so just send away!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I Haven't Posted Since Last Year...

     This seems to happen quite a bit.

     I start a blog. I love the blog. I obsess over this new blog. I post on my blog. I forget about my blog. I come back a year later writing a post about how I haven't posted in a year. That's just how the fish swims.

     Is that a saying?

     Anyway, here I am yet again, and instead of giving you a non-detailed regurgitation of 2012, I'm kicking it old school and just - writing like normal.

     I'm almost fifteen years old. Weird. It's kind of sad, I like being fourteen. It hit me the other night that in FIVE YEARS I'm going to TWENTY YEARS OLD. That's ridicules. Twenty was forever away, and suddenly all that separates me from the two decade mark is five years. Five long years, but still. Fifteen also means driving permit. To be honest, I'm a little nervous about this whole thing. Driving was always something that parents did, and I'm no parent (proudly...) so how can I possibly be sitting behind the wheel right now? Well, sitting behind the wheel - actually driving. I assure you I have spent countless times behind the wheel as a professional race car driver. Or as professional of a race car driver you can be in a 2001 Excursion.
     Speaking of excursions, Worldview Academy came once again this fall for round two. A great experience as always. And speaking of excursions in a much less literal form I have dug deeply into my first year of high school.
     Another football season. A third football season to be exact, and it seems as though both the Warriors and the Aggies are at quite a peak. My Warriors won their first ever State Championship, while my Aggies defeated the number one team in the college football nation to finish the season ranked #5 overall. Not bad.
     I spent the first seconds of 2013 spilling a nasty-smelling-carbonated-apple-somethingorother all over myself, so we shall see how I fare this upcoming year. Nothing horrible yet, but 2013 is still young.
     I cannot express to you how amazing my God is. What He has shown me since my last post on Mother's Day have been astounding. In reading His Word I must stop and simply breathe. Thank You Jesus for a great year!
     Now, speaking of great years, I also attended a mile marker I thought was also long away, of which I now find that it happend nearly five months ago. Yes, I went to homecoming. I didn't take anyone, but a night with some life-long friends was well worth the missed sleep.
     Absolutely none of this is in order, but I now share my Christmas! Actually, it was pretty much like every other Christmas I've experienced, so, as always it was well spent.

     That sounded very much like a regurgitation...

     Oh well, I hope to back much sooner than 2014, but until my return I wish anyone reading this a very happy/merry Father's Day, Forth of July, Flag Day, Labor Day, Reformation, Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthday, renaissance festival, hot dog eating contest or whatever else you may have done since May 13 of 2012!

God Bless.